1969 Daimler 420


  • Presentable, solid late model Daimler 420 with scope to drive and improve
  • Good mechanicals and has just been serviced
  • Useful factory power steering and auto box make it very useable
  • Characterful blue leather and wood veneer interior in good condition
  • MOT and tax exempt

The Appeal

The Daimler 420 Sovereign is testament to Jaguar’s ingenuity and the essential rightness of the original shape of the 1950s ‘Mk1.’  As dealers awaited the launch of the firm’s new XJ the Coventry concern managed to spin out several different new models using the basic Mk1 architecture.  

The Daimler 420 Sovereign was one of the last versions before the all new car arrived.  It combined the longer boot and independent rear suspension of the S-Type with fluted front-end styling similar to the XJ.  The Daimler badge meant added luxury and refinement over the already well-appointed Jaguar models.

This October 1968 420 Sovereign was registered a few weeks after the new XJ was launched.  It appears to be a low mileage car with an older respray.  The bodywork is solid but with scope for improvement.  It has a nice specification, the combination of power steering and automatic gearbox making it particularly useable.  Its an attractive classic that could perhaps be used to gain entry to the vast array of classic Jaguar social events whilst undertaking ongoing restoration. 

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The History And Paperwork

  • First registered on 14th October 1968
  • MOT expired 31st August 2018
  • Has covered less than 1,000 miles since last MOT and under 1,500 miles since 2012
  • MOT history supports current mileage which appears to be 102,414
  • VIN records confirm this is a factory supplied 1968 Daimler Sovereign with automatic gearbox
  • One of only 5,475 Daimler 420 Sovereigns built over two years and the 1,900th from the end of production 
  • History file has unfortunately been lost

The Interior  

  • Dark blue leather interior in good condition with patina of age
  • Good carpets and door trims
  • Complete and good chrome fittings and switchgear
  • Wood veneer to dashboard in good aged condition
  • Headlining in excellent, unmarked condition
  • Front seatbelts fitted
  • Original radio 

The 420 could trace its architecture back to the Mk1 of 1955 but Jaguar cleverly evolved the interior to suit changing tastes.  The Sovereign’s dashboard is a blend of classic Mk2 features – like the central key and push start – with later XJ stylings, like the padded top.

The interior of this late model Sovereign is in remarkable timewarp condition, perhaps reflecting what appears to be a low overall mileage.  It is trimmed in dark blue leather, the condition of which is generally very good, just the big, spongey front seats showing creases typical of age.  The rear bench seat is in very good condition.  

The carpets throughout are also in good condition.  

Elsewhere the black vinyl door cards and the chrome fittings are good and complete.  Only the nearside rear passenger door armrest shows any sign of wear – the piping on the side wall is beginning to pull away.  

The stretch of dark wood veneer across the dashboard is undamaged and looks good from a distance.  Up close there are signs of the veneer beginning to crack across its length, but it is not unsightly and might respond to a careful restorer’s attentions.  

The blue vinyl trim around the speaker in the passenger front footwell has some marks on it, which look they may clean off.  

The headlining is good, there is a period radio fitted and the dials are complete and the Seller states that they all work.  

The boot area is less presentable, the vinyl mats being in poor condition. 

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The Exterior

  • Resprayed bodywork possibly in Old English White, appears to be factory correct judging from boot area
  • Underside in solid condition but with scope to improve
  • Bodywork is generally presentable but with localised deterioration in various places
  • Chromework appears to be original and has some pitting on most items
  • Original Daimler painted steel wheels with chrome embellishers

The 420 was the final evolution of the long lived Mk1 shape that first appeared in 1955.  Throughout the many versions Jaguar kept the same central architecture of the later Mk2 – the glasshouse and doors – but added different front and rear sections to create different models.  The 420, launched in 1966, is essentially an S-Type with a different front end, one that closely resembles the soon-to-be launched XJ of 1968.  

This car has clearly been resprayed at some point in its life.  It is an older repainted that remains presentable but is beginning to deteriorate in various places.  It is not unsightly so the car could be used and enjoyed whilst running restoration work is undertaken.

Based on photographs of the boot area, which appears not to have been repainted, the car appears to have originally been white so the respray is factory correct, although the precise shade may vary.  

Moving around the car, the nearside front arch has small bubbles of corrosion on it and the same on the base of the rear arch.  Both nearside doors and the B pillar also display signs of deterioration, particularly on the base but also elsewhere on the panel.  

The nearside rear arch has corrosion and paint cracks around the fuel filler flap and there is micro blistering across the panel.  The remainder of the car does not appear to suffer from micro blistering but as white is a difficult colour to assess in photographs the buyer may wish to check this with the Seller. 

The paint has cracked on the nearside rear wing top where it meets the rear panel.

The offside is in similar condition with deterioration and some localised paint flaking to both arches, including where they meet the sill, and to both doors, although not as significant as the nearside.  On the driver’s door there is poor paint under the chrome, perhaps indicating that the car was resprayed with the chrome in place.

On the front of the car there are smudges of rust stains around the ventilation panel on the scuttle.  The rest of the front of the car appears good, including the base of the screen and the vulnerable leading edges of the wings.

The underside of the car reflects a similar condition to the bodywork.  The boot floor looks solid and the paintwork here appears to be original.  The last MOT was in 2017, expiring in August 2018.  As this means there is little information about the structure the buyer may wish to factor this into the sale. 

The original painted steel Daimler wheels with their pretty chrome embellishers are in good condition and a rare sight compared to the wires of most 60s Jaguar saloons.  They sit on budget tyres.

The chrome and badging around the car appear to be original and complete and presentable.  Most units show light pitting, including the front and rear bumpers.  It is not unsightly but contrasts to the generally fresh paintwork. The only damage is to the rear bumper which has a shallow dent in the centre. 

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The Mechanics

  • 4.2litre version of Jaguar’s durable XK engine
  • Twin carburettors
  • Upgraded 3spd Model 8 Borg Warner automatic gearbox with column shifer
  • Independent S-Type rear suspension – the same as on the E Type
  • Classic Jaguar twin fuel tanks 

The specification of this 420 Sovereign would have likely been very appealing to buyers back in 1968 and its attractions remain for modern classic drivers.  The 4.2litre version of the long-lived XK engine is durable and with plentiful parts supply, the 3spd Borg Warner automatic gearbox is an improvement on earlier versions and the power steering is particularly welcome on this heavy car.

Unfortunately the history file for this car has been lost so it is not possible to interrogate the servicing and maintenance records or verify the mileage.  The MOT history is only available for 2012 to 2018.  It indicates very little use whilst appearing to verify the current mileage.  The car appears to have done just under 103,000 miles but this cannot be proven.

Aside from the rear suspension, the mechanicals and running gear of this 420 are similar to the earlier Mk2 and Mk1.  That means parts are relatively easy to get hold of – there are several Jaguar parts specialists around the UK – and there are plenty of classic Jaguar specialists willing and able to work on them.  It is a simple and generally durable set up.  This automatic gearbox fitted to this model was an improvement on the earlier unit and is recognised to be more reliable.

Outside of Jaguar enthusiasts one of the little-known attractions of the 420 and the S-Type on which it is based is the decision by Jaguar to fit the E-Type’s independent rear suspension.  Somewhat more complicated than the set up on the earlier cars, it is nonetheless reliable.  It does endow the car with much-improved handling, which perhaps explains why 1960s gangsters these models so much.  

A further appeal might be the classic Jaguar twin fuel tanks: popularised by the XJ, this system was introduced on the 420.  As well as enabling drivers to balance the load over the rear wheels, there is also the added advantage of being able to refuel using multiple pumps in the petrol station.

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The Daimler 420 Sovereign was the last development of the iconic Mk1 shape, cleverly blending S-Type styling and running gear with XJ references.  With power steering, plenty of power and an automatic gearbox, it is a very useable, very relaxing and above all distinctive classic saloon.

This 420 is one of the last Sovereigns built and appears to be a low mileage car.  It is presentable, with a great interior, and could easily be used as it is, but there is also scope to improve as you go.  Either way it seems to be a very practical, rewarding classic with that distinctive Jaguar vibe. 

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1969
  • Make Daimler
  • Model 420
  • Colour White
  • Odometer 2,414 Miles
  • Engine size 4235
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Nine Ashes
  • Location Essex
  • Country United Kingdom

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